Domino Printing Sciences PLC is considered one of the largest names in today’s coding and marking industry. A peer of other major companies like Videojet Technologies, Domino Printing is an international operation, employing more than 2,800 people across 120 countries. With manufacturing facilities in the U.S., UK, China, Germany, India, Sweden, and more, Domino Printing is one of the largest suppliers of industrial printers in the world.
Although Domino currently sells everything from printing consumables to pallet labeling hardware, the bulk of their success has historically come from continuous inkjet (CIJ) printer sales. Financial reports from 2006 show that CIJ equipment sales alone made up 28 percent of the group’s total revenue of £208 million ($391 million), a trend that’s continued from year to year.
To understand how the company became the coding and marking giant that it is today, we need to first explore its evolution. Below we detail the history of Domino Printing Sciences in-depth to show what it has achieved since its inception in the 1970s.
The roots of Domino Printing Services lie in the UK research center group, Cambridge Consultants Ltd (CCL). Founded in the early 1960s by Cambridge University, CCL’s mission was to use the college’s resources to develop technologies that would aid the growth of British companies. Throughout the 1970s, CIJ printers became a focus of the group’s attention, with engineer Graeme Minto playing an integral role in developing the technology.
While CIJ printing wasn’t new at the time (the technology dates back to the 1950s), CCL was responsible for developing several improvements to the hardware. Minto in particular was instrumental in making CIJ printers more reliable, less messy, and simpler to operate. One of his biggest achievements at CCL was developing the Unijet printer—a type of CIJ printer that could operate with a single printhead. Once Minto realized the commercial potential of the Unijet printer, he formed Domino Printing Sciences in 1978 to sell the invention.
After obtaining a license from CCL to sell its CIJ technology, Domino Printing Services achieved instant success. Before even officially launching the company, Domino had already lined up sales opportunities and received industry attention due to its innovative printers. Upon release, the Unijet printer proved to be both more cost-effective and reliable than other CIJ printers on the market, leading to quick sales across the UK and continental Europe.
After achieving wide European success in the late 1970s, Domino began working towards further expansion. In 1981, the company secured sales to Japan by partnering with a local distributor, and in 1983, it began focusing on the U.S. market.
To extend operations to the United States, Domino partnered with American Technologies, a division of the now-defunct American Can Company. As a part of the agreement, American Technologies helped to manufacture and sell Domino’s printing supplies across the continental United States. Soon after, American Technologies helped Domino expand into the Australian and New Zealand markets as well.
As the decade continued, exports became increasingly important to the company’s overall revenue. By 1990, Domino was selling its hardware, ink, and services across 60 countries. Overall, sales outside of the UK constituted 80% of the company’s revenue.
While the first half of the 1980s was filled with tremendous growth, things became more complicated towards the end of the decade.
Rife with success, Domino fully acquired American Technologies in 1987. In doing so, they also took on roughly £23 million in debt. Furthermore, Domino discovered that American Technologies had been manufacturing printers that didn’t align with the company’s high manufacturing standards. Consequently, the printers regularly experienced breakdowns, damaging Domino’s reputation in the lucrative U.S. market.
The combination of accumulated debt and reputation problems made this period an uncertain point in the history of Domino Printing Sciences. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the company refound its footing and restarted its rise to the top of the coding and marking industry.
In response to Domino’s international problems, Graeme Minto resigned as head of the company in 1989 and was replaced by Managing Director Howard Whitesmith. Aided by a background in manufacturing technologies, Whitesmith set out to improve Domino’s damaged reputation.
To do so, Whitesmith began revamping the company’s manufacturing process. Additionally, he required that all American facilities maintain the same standards as their UK counterparts. Finally, the company started a rebranding effort, changing their American subsidiary name Domino-Amjet and offering a five-year guarantee on all of their systems.
Through these efforts, Domino was able to turn its success around. Revenue continually increased throughout the decade, as the company was able to reclaim its reputation of having high-quality, dependable hardware. In addition, Domino was able to continually add on new technologies throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, including laser marking systems in 1996 and DOD printing systems in 2003.
Today, Domino Printing Sciences is in a great space. With operations across the globe and varied product offerings, the company continues to generate revenue that keeps them at the forefront of the coding and marking industry.
Domino Printing remains a dependable choice whether a customer is looking for a system built for coding beverages, marking food cans, or printing on personal care products.
For more articles like “History of Domino Printing Sciences in the Coding and Marking Industry," stay connected with C&M Digest by subscribing to our newsletter. To get in touch with us about possible collaborations or ideas for coverage, contact us today.